China has proposed a Maritime Silk Road (MSR) to Bangladesh to promote trade and commerce in the region and the two countries are reported to have stepped up efforts to build an economic corridor linking Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) to feed the new Silk Route.
China sees Bangladesh as an important country in the Maritime Silk Road and Chinese President Xi Jinping has discussed the plan with visiting Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina in Beijing last night, according state-run Xinhua news agency.
''Bangladesh is an important country along the Maritime Silk Road,'' Xi said during the meeting, noting that China welcomes the Bangladeshi side's participation in the construction of the economic corridor and the Maritime Silk Road.
The moves will help build a community of shared interests between China and Bangladesh, and benefit the people of the two countries and the region at large, Xi said.
The concepts of the belt and maritime route were first proposed by Xi last year.
The Silk Road once connected China and Europe from around 100 BC, while the Chinese used the Maritime Silk Road to transport silk, ceramics and tea to overseas markets.
Sri Lanka has extended its backing for MSR while China has invited India to take part in it.
Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina is reported to have backed Xi's proposal on the belt and maritime route, calling the four-nation economic corridor as significant for the development of South Asia.
Hasina and the Chinese premier witnessed the signing of a string of deals regarding economic and technical cooperation, feasibility study of flood prevention and management in Bangladesh, and the construction of a multi-lane road tunnel project under the River Karnaphuli.
A joint statement issued by the two sides said the development of the corridor would constitute an important vehicle to complement various regional connectivity initiatives and provide an important avenue for strengthening cooperation and sustainable development.
China and Bangladesh agreed to remain actively engaged towards the development of the corridor along with other countries.